Eclipse Hunter Volume 1: Brothers
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter One: The Night the Choice was Made—translated by Trespasserby (proofread by Arcedemius and elisa; C/E edited by Amgine & lucathia)
A man was sitting at a large, black office desk. With a head of ashen hair, he was visibly getting on in years but was still handsome in poise and visage.
There were two rows of tables and chairs before him, with many computers on each table. Several charts and reports related to the current year’s operations were hanging on the surrounding walls. This was clearly an office or meeting room, and the man was sitting in the seat undoubtedly intended for the most important person.
But for now, this place was empty. The expression on the man’s face was also not that of a bold executive. He only stared ahead with a blank gaze, as if waiting for something.
At that moment, the enormous, carved hardwood doors slowly opened.
The man had had these doors specially built. Otherwise, in this age when electronic equipment was everywhere else, automatic doors were the most basic of installations. Even ordinary households didn’t have wooden doors that had to be opened manually anymore.
In the past, these doors were the man’s prized possessions. But now, the way that they slowly opened made his heart catch in his throat. He would rather have an electronic door before him, where one push of a button would cause it to instantaneously open and allow him to immediately confront the visitor. That would be far better than watching the door slowly, slowly open; far better than hoping “it might not be him” when he clearly knew who was behind the door.
A foot was set down. With exceedingly graceful footsteps, that person entered the room while showing a consistently perfect amount of hauteur. It was commanding but not aggressive, nor was it insufferable. A handsome face, a slender figure, and a perpetual gracefulness—Ri Xiang Yan1 was practically as dazzling as the sun.
Everyone always had praise for him, especially when this man like the sun began participating in his father’s business—the Sun Alliance. He led the business in a rapid expansion, causing everyone within the alliance to sing his praises even more.
Seeing this dazzling young man, even though they were facing off against each other, the man at the office desk could not help but feel a surge of pride. This was his son, his own flesh and blood, the king of suns he had created with his own hands!
Having navigated the business world for many years and having what could be said to be a perfect son, the man had no regrets left. He was only puzzled, and couldn’t help but ask, “Why have you conspired with the board members to betray me? You know you are my only son, so although I still hold some of the Sun Alliance’s shares, they will sooner or later be yours…”
“I’m your only son? Is it really like that? Is it really?”
Ri Xiang Yan couldn’t bear to listen any further and shouted to cut the other person off. He had never been this angry before. He was so full of rage that his entire body shook, and so furious that his eyes were completely bloodshot. He glared at his own… father.
“Oh, so you found out?” The man suddenly understood and immediately became serene.
Hearing such a tone, Ri Xiang Yan felt incomparable sorrow. He growled, “So I found out? Father, is that all you have to say? Why do you have to treat ‘him’ so cruelly?”
The man only said with indifference, “He killed your mother, the love of my life.”
“Nonsense! It’s true that Mother died of complications from giving birth, but how can you blame ‘him’?”
The man did not say anything further and only calmly watched Ri Xiang Yan without a single trace of remorse in his eyes. This made Ri Xiang Yan both furious and grieved.
His father loved his mother dearly. Even though his wife had been deceased for many years, not a single bit of his love had faded away. This should be something any child would be proud of, but now, that deep love was harming another person.
Is Father in the wrong? Ri Xiang Yan truly found it hard to blame him.
Especially since his father had always treated him well. There wasn’t a single year where he had forgotten Ri Xiang Yan’s birthday. Whatever he asked for, he never failed to receive it. That was, until “that request” that he had for his eighteenth birthday.
“I want my dìdi.”2
Six years. For the past six years, Ri Xiang Yan had continually expressed the same wish. But this was different from the wish most people had, asking their parents to have another child. He actually already had a younger brother, a particularly cute one, too.
When he was younger, he could never resist pinching his little brother’s cheeks until his brother angrily protested. He never understood just why his father would not like such an adorable little brother.
Why did his father not care about his little brother’s existence in the slightest? The glances that his father occasionally cast at his younger brother, those expressions… When Ri Xiang Yan was younger, the looks that his father cast made him uncomfortable, but he didn’t know what they meant. It was only once he had grown up that he understood—it was hatred.
Due to his father’s complete disregard, his little brother was practically raised by Ri Xiang Yan. Although there was a nanny, the nanny was only there for the money. When it came to affection, only this older brother was willing to give the child any.
Any other child would dislike their siblings while they were little, believing that their siblings were stealing away the attention of their parents. But Ri Xiang Yan’s situation was different.
His father obviously loathed the child so much that he didn’t want Ri Xiang Yan to even visit him. His little brother was just like a pariah. Pictures in the house clearly showed his father, his mother, and Ri Xiang Yan himself posing for the camera, but there was not a single photograph of his little brother.
The nanny also quite clearly understood that the father didn’t like this child, so she didn’t dare to take the child out of the room, keeping him inside the attic, the most remote corner of the entire place.
His father was partial to antiques and even had the house built like a medieval castle. Therefore, the attic was truly remote. Even if a banquet were to be held in the great hall, not a single sound would reach that place.
Ri Xiang Yan no longer remembered why he had walked to such a remote place, and only remembered being guided, step by step, up a flight of stairs by loud, incessant crying to push open the wooden door.
The room had been dimly lit. He had slowly felt around for a light switch but couldn’t find one. The crying also hadn’t stopped, and at the time, he had been terrified. However, his curiosity wouldn’t allow him to turn and leave… Suddenly, he had felt his pants being tugged on, and the crying unexpectedly stopped.
Ri Xiang Yan was scared into kicking aside whatever was pulling on his pants. The crying resumed, and he backed away in fear until his back was against the wall. He also accidentally bumped into the light switch, and the room burst into light. A tiny baby sat on the floor wailing with a large, swollen bump on its forehead.
It was very obvious that what had just been pulling on his pants was this tiny little guy, and the bump on that tiny little guy’s forehead was definitely the result of his kick just now!
Ri Xiang Yan was shocked into immediately checking to see if the tiny baby was fine. According to what he knew, tiny babies were very fragile. This kick might kill it!
He had just stretched out his hand in front of the baby when the tiny baby immediately stopped crying and opened its large eyes. It babbled and used its two hands to grasp his.
Such small hands. Ri Xiang Yan was only ten. He felt that his father’s hands were so, so big and his own hands were so, so small. But compared to the hands of the baby in front of him, his hands seemed just as large.
All of a sudden, the tiny baby put its mouth around Ri Xiang Yan’s thumb and started sucking rhythmically.
Hungry? No matter how hard you suck, there won’t be any milk. Ri Xiang Yan wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
He could only helplessly look around and managed to find a canister of milk powder. He hastily heated up some milk, failing several times in the process. If he hadn’t heated it up too much, then he had made the milk too watery, making the small baby wail loudly each time.
With much effort, he finally made it successfully. The baby was starving by then, and it wrapped its two little hands around the milk bottle, sucking away desperately. However, its eyes, reddened from crying, stared at the person who was carrying it, as if the person would suddenly disappear.
The tiny baby drank two entire bottles before being satisfied and laid against Ri Xiang Yan’s chest, its large eyes gradually closing.
When it looked like the baby was about to fall asleep, Ri Xiang Yan wanted to place the baby back in the crib, but as soon as the baby left his arms, the baby began to cry especially loudly. Left with no other choice, he could only stretch out on his stomach next to the crib and sacrifice his index finger for the baby to hold before the baby stopped crying and slowly fell asleep.
With the baby asleep, Ri Xiang Yan finally had the time consider that this small baby was likely his younger brother, the younger brother who had caused his mother to die from the difficult birth, who had broken his father’s heart! He should hate this younger brother.
Yet, as he gazed at the peacefully sleeping baby’s face and felt the baby’s small hand tightly grasping onto his finger, if he were asked to name what the most innocent thing in the world was, he would have resolutely replied it was the tiny creature in front of him.
The world didn’t have to teach him, his parents didn’t have to nag at him, Ri Xiang Yan naturally knew this—he must cherish his little brother.
“Dìdi, you have to quickly learn to call me Gēge!”3
Ri Xiang Yan was unbearably excited because there was a tiny life that would one day open its mouth to call him Gēge!
From that point on, Ri Xiang Yan would spend almost an hour every day playing with his little brother. His father was extremely displeased with this, but in the face of Ri Xiang Yan’s determination, there was nothing he could do.
Just like that, Ri Xiang Yan watched his little brother grow up…
His little brother opened his mouth to call him “Gēge,” his little brother learned how to walk, his little brother liked reading picture books, and liked to rip them even more. His little brother liked to play with a ball, and liked to smash Ri Xiang Yan’s face with the ball even more. When it came time for his little brother to learn to read and write, because their father was unwilling to hire a tutor, Ri Xiang Yan taught his little brother how to read and write, letter by letter…
Things proceeded like so until the year Ri Xiang Yan turned seventeen, and his little brother was only seven. Their father sent his little brother away, saying that his little brother was being sent to the finest elite academy in the alliance.
Ri Xiang Yan was reluctant to part with his little brother and didn’t understand why he had been homeschooled for elementary but his little brother had to be sent to such a faraway place to receive schooling. However, although he had doubts, he hadn’t thought too hard on them. After all, his little brother was also his father’s child, and a father would always act in the best interests of his son.
“No! I don’t want to go!”
At that time, his little brother had tightly hugged Ri Xiang Yan’s waist in a panic. The seven-year-old had unexpectedly squeezed him so tightly that he almost couldn’t bear it! Ri Xiang Yan coaxed his little brother for a long time. He knew that his little brother was terrified of their father, and to ease his little brother’s fears, he repeatedly vowed:
“Don’t be scared, Dìdi. You’ll always have Gēge. Gēge will protect you.”
“Gēge will protect me?” His little brother pouted and stuck out his pinky. “Then pinky promise. If Gēge is lying, then, then Gēge has to eat lots and lots of the bitter melon he hates the most!”
Ri Xiang Yan embarrassedly smiled but made the pinky promise with his little brother. He consoled, “O.K, O.K. If I’m lying, then I’ll eat lots and lots of bitter melon.”
And that was how his little brother left with his father. As he walked, he kept turning his head to look back at his older brother, extremely frightened of the father who was leading him away, trying his utmost to keep him at a distance.
This scene had always stayed in Ri Xiang Yan’s memories. Every time he thought of it, he hated himself for not recognizing how icy his father’s expression had been, hated himself for being young and wanting to play around, fooling around to the point where he had neglected to look after his little brother!
It wasn’t until half a year had passed, when it should have been time for schools to be let out for summer vacation and his brother never came back home, that he finally asked his father. His father had only lightly replied, “That school doesn’t have summer breaks. Until he graduates, he won’t return.”
“What school is this?” Ri Xiang Yan wasn’t going to believe those words, not when his little brother hadn’t once called him in the six months that had passed!
He had definitely given his little brother his phone number. How could a child that missed his older brother so badly have never given him a single call?
His father didn’t reply, and Ri Xiang Yan finally understood. His little brother had never gone to some school. Instead, his father had finally acted on the hatred that had burned in his eyes!
Ri Xiang Yan didn’t dare to imagine what had befallen his younger brother. He could only madly search, combing the entire house, the entire city, the entire world…
For the sake of his search, he hid his resentment and joined his father’s Sun Alliance. In the span of a single year, he had taken control over the vast majority of the human resources, but it still wasn’t enough. His little brother had disappeared without a trace, like a stone that had been tossed into a huge ocean.
Ri Xiang Yan gradually became the newcomer that drew the most attention in the alliance. He exhausted all of his power to search for his little brother, and in order to increase his ability to search, he could only keep climbing up.
Although his father doted on him, he was extremely strict on the job. Even his own son didn’t receive any special treatment. Therefore, Ri Xiang Yan could only climb upwards through his own power, not satisfied even when he reached the top. Before he found his little brother, he would never be satisfied!
Ri Xiang Yan began to expand the Sun Alliance’s influence, so much so that it became the largest alliance. This was all so that he would have more investigative power to look into various records of orphans, criminals, prisoners, and even nameless corpses…
At the same time, with each birthday, Ri Xiang Yan would request that his father return his little brother, and he would always be disappointed year after year. The last time, his twenty-fourth birthday, he had finally changed his mind, and asked his father for permission to excavate the grounds, which his father granted.
The castle grounds were indeed incredibly large. Ri Xiang Yan used over a hundred people for the excavation. Every day, the complicated thoughts he had put him in an inexplicable mood. He even tried not to think of his intentions for excavating the grounds, unwilling to think of what it usually meant when an excavation was conducted.
But he had been searching for six long years. He was truly very tired. If Father really did…
Then I should take revenge for Dìdi sooner!
In the end, nothing was unearthed. Ri Xiang Yan breathed a sigh of relief, but he could only strengthen his resolve and continue to search.
Over seven years had passed. His little brother would already be fifteen if he was still alive! Ri Xiang Yan couldn’t wait any longer. He had long known who he would ultimately choose between his father and his little brother. It was only his love for his father that had led him to wait for seven years before acting.
“Where is Dìdi?”
In Ri Xiang Yan’s hand was the most advanced derringer. The gun was currently pointed at his own father. There was no longer any emotion left in Ri Xiang Yan’s eyes. He had betrayed his little brother’s trust. The fate of the little brother he loved so dearly was a mystery, and Ri Xiang Yan had lived with seven years of remorse. These had all completely worn away any love he had held for his father.
Looking at the pitch-black gun opening, his father was extremely calm, so much so that he smiled and said, “I was planning on giving him to you as your twenty-fifth birthday present!”
Ri Xiang Yan froze. He hadn’t expected his father to say such a thing. Or did Father only give an excuse so I would release him?
His father stood up, making Ri Xiang Yan purse his lips and icily warn him, “Don’t make any sudden moves. I won’t kill you before I get Dìdi’s location out of you, but I won’t hesitate to shoot you in the leg.”
“You do not need to worry, child. I only wanted for you to see your beloved younger brother.”
His father slowly walked, his goal clearly the door off to the side. Ri Xiang Yan knew that behind that door was his father’s personal lounge.
His father opened the door and indicated for Ri Xiang Yan to accompany him. Ri Xiang Yan was somewhat hesitant but unafraid. Even if his little brother were in Hell, he would still have unflinchingly rushed in!
Ri Xiang Yan just couldn’t bear being disappointed again. His little brother had already been gone for seven years. He didn’t believe that his little brother was truly in that lounge, since he had already scoured the Sun Alliance long ago.
However, Ri Xiang Yan still entered. His father stood by the door to the lounge’s bathroom. Once he saw Ri Xiang Yan enter, he opened the door and went in.
He stood in the area next to the simple bathtub, sink, and toilet. His father’s smile was extremely bizarre. “Child, although you are intelligent, you probably would never have guessed this lounge I infrequently visited was the one place you were searching for.”
Ri Xiang Yan was stunned. He watched his father turn on the tap for the bathtub. No water came out. Instead, the entire bathtub descended, revealing a flight of stairs.
This unremarkable location and this simple mechanism had evaded him for seven years!
It wasn’t that he had never thought there wouldn’t be hidden passageways within the castle, but that he had already investigated them quite some time ago. Although there were indeed a large number of secret passages, he had searched each of them and hadn’t found his little brother! Ri Xiang Yan had never thought there was another one here.
Making the switch for the secret entrance a faucet was quite a risky move. If someone turned on the tap, wouldn’t they discover this? However, this risky move was actually quite appropriate. While looking for the switches to hidden doors, who would pay attention to a faucet in plain sight?
In addition, this was his father’s personal lounge. No one would dare use it. The only other person allowed to use it was Ri Xiang Yan himself. However, both he and his father were the same in that they were both slightly germophobic, and only liked to use their own personal things. Ri Xiang Yan would never have come to use his father’s bathroom.
Searching the entire world for so many years when his little brother had been under his feet the entire time—this reality was too cruel.
Ri Xiang Yan now fervently hoped that this wasn’t his little brother’s resting place. As long as his little brother was still alive, with current medical technology, no matter what state his little brother was in after being tortured, Ri Xiang would be able to restore him to the healthy and lively little brother he once was.
Guessing correctly that Ri Xiang Yan wouldn’t walk in front, his father simply entered first. Ri Xiang Yan also anxiously entered.
Knowing that his little brother wasn’t in some distant place, he could no longer bear to wait.
However, the scene he saw underground caused Ri Xiang Yan’s eyes to widen. It wasn’t the dungeon he had imagined, but a brightly lit place!
The surroundings were practically entirely white, with all sorts of high-tech equipment that couldn’t be named, and people completely dressed in white bustling about. Some of them were currently monitoring the image on a television screen with excitement.
Someone among them noticed Ri Xiang Yan and his father and called out to the others. The people completely dressed in white turned around and respectfully greeted them one by one.
During this, Ri Xiang Yan noticed that among them, there was one person who wasn’t smiling and even coldly watched the two of them. Because of his peculiar attitude, Ri Xiang Yan took special note of this person.
“How is the progress?” his father asked.
One of them excitedly replied, “It’s going extremely smoothly. Mr. Ri, it’s simply unbelievable. As you know, we have replaced the entirety of his bones with a supermetal alloy, used drugs to make his flesh and skin ten times tougher than that of an average person, and even placed a microchip within his brain. Each of these experiments had extraordinarily high chances of failure! We never thought the experimental product would actually make it to this stage given his young age. The development was actually better than what we had expected!”
Hearing this report, Ri Xiang Yan’s father lightly said, “Excellent.”
“You—What the hell are you saying?”
Ri Xiang Yan didn’t understand, nor did he want to understand. He had originally only hoped that his little brother wasn’t dead. Although, there were still things even more painful than death in this world, he couldn’t believe that his own father would put his little brother through something like that!
At that moment, the person who had stared at them coldly earlier replied mockingly, “In other words, the experiment was a success. Not only have you taken a fragile boy and turned him into a modified human more skilled than a team of special force soldiers, with a body that is harder than stone, you’ve also installed a microchip in his brain that forces him to unconditionally obey any orders of yours! Congratulations, sir. You have the perfect bodyguard.”
Ri Xiang Yan felt the life drain out of him. He sluggishly walked to the screen that the people had circled around to watch earlier even though an alarm sounded endlessly within him, telling him unceasingly that this was definitely something he didn’t want to see. However, his body no longer listened to him.
He lifted his head to look at the screen. Actually, the image wasn’t clear at all. The person in the scene was moving too quickly. It was almost like watching a humanoid blur execute fighting techniques at lightning speed.
What was shown on the screen was a virtual battle simulator, a very common device, though there were various levels of quality. Low quality ones were used in amusement parks, for public entertainment. High quality ones were exclusively for the military to train with.
As for the one on screen, it was undoubtedly one of the highest quality battle simulators. Various stats were displayed clearly on screen: strength, speed, and motion trajectory were all there.
But that humanoid blur seemed to actually be a person. These words sounded very strange, but Ri Xiang Yan breathed a sigh of relief. From what the white-clothed person had said, he had thought his little brother had turned into a robot!
Ri Xiang Yan turned his head and shouted, icily glaring at those people. He was unconsciously emitting the imposing aura he had acquired from maneuvering through the corporate and political world for so many years. His shouting stunned everyone. One person immediately spoke into the microphone next to the security monitor, “Dark Sun.6 Stop fighting. Exit immediately.”
That person finished issuing the order, and when he glanced back, Ri Xiang Yan was looking at him with a terrifying expression. He hastily explained, “Mr. Ri, don’t worry. Although we can give him orders, your orders and safety have priority. If our orders ever conflict with your safety or your orders, he will listen to you unconditionally! Even if someone looks identical to you, it’s of no use. Dark Sun has already imprinted your DNA.”
Ri Xiang Yan relaxed his terrifying expression and was engrossed in watching the boy on the screen. Although he couldn’t clearly see the face, there was nothing strange about the body’s figure, which was that of a boy with a slim build. This allowed Ri Xiang Yan’s aching heart to be somewhat soothed. There didn’t seem to be any huge problems. As long as it was never mentioned, no one should be able tell that his little brother had been modified.
He would ensure that no one would be able to leak this secret, and that no one would be able to command Dìdi!
A door to the side opened. Ri Xiang Yan had a feeling almost like that of homesickness as he looked at his little brother. With one look, Ri Xiang Yan was almost moved to tears. That really, really is Dìdi!
He would never make a mistake in recognizing his little brother. He even felt that his brother looked almost the same as when he was seven, except that his face and his body had both grown a little slimmer and longer, although he couldn’t be considered tall. It looked like he wasn’t more than 172cm.
Before, his little brother had constantly complained that he was short and small, and kept drinking a lot of milk. It looks like it didn’t work. Thinking of this, Ri Xiang Yan almost wanted to laugh.
By that time, Ri Xiang Yan’s brother had already walked past him. Ri Xiang Yan was a full 185cm. Up close, the little brother looked even smaller.
His little brother expressionlessly walked up to the person dressed in white who had given him the command earlier. He stood stiffly and did not move after that, his posture even more perfect than soldiers standing at attention.
Seeing that his little brother had no reaction, Ri Xiang Yan couldn’t help opening his mouth to say, “Dìdi, do you not recognize me? It’s Gēge.”
Dark Sun didn’t have the slightest reaction. On the contrary, the man in white off to the side who had coldly looked at them earlier was the one with a shocked expression. He couldn’t believe at all that Ri Xiang Yan had actually said Dark Sun was his little brother. This meant that the person who had ordered the experiment done was actually the father of the experimental product?
A different person in white kindly explained, “You must call him Dark Sun for him to work. That was the name we inputted. Of course, you can also change it. You only have to give the command and clearly say what his name will be changed to.”
“What are you saying?!” Ri Xiang Yan yelled. He was already panicking, his head in a mess. He had finally realized that the situation wasn’t as simple as he had imagined. It wasn’t that he only had to ensure no one knew his little brother had been modified; his little brother had become completely wrong!
“Dìdi? Dìdi?” Ri Xiang Yan called out to the stiff silhouette of that back again and again, but received no response.
One white-clothed person couldn’t bear to watch any longer and ordered Dark Sun, “Turn around and confirm your highest priority master.”
Dark Sun turned around and looked at Ri Xiang Yan. He replied without the slightest trace of emotion, “Confirming highest priority master. Appearance: Match. Iris recognition: Match. Preliminary confirmation of Master verified. If a second matching profile and iris is found, will proceed with DNA confirmation.”
“Dì…” Ri Xiang Yan tightly held his chest, feeling as though his heart was so heavy it had stopped beating.
“Does Master wish to initiate the name changing sequence?”
Dark Sun seemed to be puzzled by the title of “Dìdi.” He indeed revealed a puzzled expression, but there wasn’t the slightest change in his eyes. It was just like a robot who had determined what expression should be shown based on the circumstances, and therefore displayed such a reaction.
“Change names?” Ri Xiang Yan was finally unable to bear this shock. He howled while losing his composure, “Change what name? Your name has never changed! You are not Dark Sun! You are ‘Ri Xiang Ye,’7 my only dìdi!”
“Ri Xiang Ye. Name changing sequence completed. Dìdi also accepted as a nickname.”
Ri Xiang Yan suddenly coughed up a mouthful of blood with a look of despair. He had never thought that after seven years of bitterly searching, he would find a robot that only looked like his little brother! It was even more painful than seeing his brother’s dead body.
At that moment, the brothers’ father decided to suddenly attack. He snatched a sharp implement from the table and stabbed in the direction of Ri Xiang Yan’s heart.
Hearing the cries of surprise from the surrounding people, Ri Xiang Yan turned his head, but it was already too late to react…
However, the sharp implement in his father’s hand didn’t pierce Ri Xiang Yan’s chest because his little brother blocked it in the nick of time. He simultaneously said in a monotone, “Intent to assassinate highest priority master. Eliminate.” At the same time, he used his hand as a blade, and without hesitation, stabbed through his father’s chest.
Ri Xiang Yan froze. Although he had been determined to kill his father for a long time, upon seeing this scene, he was still unable to accept it just like that, and was even more unable to believe that his father had just tried to stab him in the chest so suddenly.
The man in white with the cold gaze cried out in shock, “Why? You clearly knew a sneak attack would never succeed. Dark Sun would kill anyone who posed a threat to his highest priority master without hesitation.”
Ri Xiang Yan’s body went rigid. He understood.
Their father smiled hollowly. As he spoke, blood gushed out of his mouth without stopping.
“Ha, ha. I will not allow my beloved child to kill me!
“Yan, you are the glorious sun, the king of suns without any imperfections! I will not allow the murder of a parent to fall upon you. I will not allow my death to dye your hands red. All of this darkness will be borne by Dark Sun, the child of darkness who brought harm to his mother and death to his father. Hahaha…”
Ri Xiang Yan expressionlessly sent a bullet through his father’s forehead.
Everyone at the scene froze. All of the people wearing white were in such a panic they didn’t know what to do.
Ri Xiang Yan watched Dark Sun pull out his hand. Without the support, the body of his dead father slowly slid to the ground. Although he had fired the gun, anyone with eyes could tell that even without the shot, his father was certain to die… He still hadn’t protected his little brother. Why had he allowed his little brother to be harmed again?
But, right now, will Dìdi even feel hurt over killing Father? Ri Xiang Yan’s heart was in further agony at this thought.
Although the two masters had gotten into a scuffle that ended in death, the person in white with the cold glare was strangely not in a panic. He only felt sorrow for the father and son. However, when he looked at Dark Sun, he unexpectedly discovered…
“Ah! Tears… Dark Sun?”
Hearing this soft exclamation, Ri Xiang Yan froze. He quickly used his hands to turn his little brother around to face him. His brother was still expressionless, but why were there two lines of tears on his face?
Had the microchip in Dark Sun’s brain been programmed for him to cry in such a situation?
Ri Xiang Yan lightly caressed his little brother’s face, saying with a pained heart, “Then you shouldn’t be expressionless! Even with the most basic personality setting, you should know that crying should be paired with an expression of grief, right?
“You still are my dìdi! You are not Dark Sun! I have sworn that I will protect you.”
Without any warning, Ri Xiang Yan suddenly raised his hand and fired once. A white-clothed person abruptly fell over.
While the others were stunned, Ri Xiang Yan shot once to the left and once to the right, killing another two people in white. Spinning around, the gun point was aimed at the person in white clothes behind him. Despite how he pleaded for forgiveness, Ri Xiang Yan still sent a bullet through his heart in the very next second.
He was so accurate it was chilling.
Finally, his gun was aimed at the white-clothed person with the cold gaze. However, that person said in an unruffled manner, “Wait a moment. In any case, I have no way to fight back. Let me at least say a few words about your brother’s condition.”
Ri Xiang Yan’s face showed no emotion, but he did not fire. Only, he did not move the gun away, either. He was afraid that the person in white would retaliate and force his little brother into killing another person.
“I’ll introduce myself first. I am An Te Qi.8 My primary occupation is doctor, and I was responsible for every surgical operation here.” An Te Qi laughed as he said, “That group of theorists only had a bunch of theories but not the steady, skilled hands to carry out the surgeries. Therefore, your father hired me at an exorbitant price. My skills are of the highest caliber, but because I offended the wrong people out there, my work wasn’t going too well.”
Seeing that Ri Xiang Yan was about to lose patience and was still holding the gun, An Te Qi decided to immediately head into the main topic. “Since I had already accepted such a high payment, I was prepared to smother my conscience. But after being in contact with each other for a long time, people always end up developing feelings. Speaking truthfully, your little brother was really a well-behaved child. At the beginning, he cried all the time. But as soon as he heard that he only had to obediently finish the experiment to be able to go home and see his big brother, he immediately cooperated with everything. Surgical operations and rehabilitation that even adults couldn’t tolerate, he bore them all.”
Having said that, An Te Qi couldn’t help but look at Dark Sun and added, “Those theorists all said it was due to his high vitality, but I think what was truly strong was that child’s will and his determination to see you again.”
Hearing his little brother’s past, Ri Xiang Yan’s expression softened, and he no longer appeared impatient. He really wanted to know of his little brother’s life during the past seven years, although there was no way it was a happy one.
“It’s not a big deal even though his body is modified. He’s still alive, in any case. There’s nothing wrong with becoming stronger. In addition, based on those perfectionists’ blueprints, Dark Sun’s appearance isn’t any different from a human’s.”
Ri Xiang Yan roared, “My dìdi is human!”
“Right! Sorry.” An Te Qi somewhat regretted his slip of the tongue. Glancing at Dark Sun and seeing that he hadn’t reacted, An Te Qi then breathed a sigh of relief and continued saying, “The real issue is the modification of having a microchip in his brain. It has completely erased Dark Sun’s feelings, leaving behind only a robot that will follow orders.”
“You still did it! You turned my dìdi into a robot with your own hands!” Ri Xiang Yan’s expression darkened, and the derringer in his hand shook unsteadily.
“Yes. If I didn’t, then they would have found someone else.” An Te Qi shut down Ri Xiang Yan’s anger with a single statement. Ri Xiang Yan was practically speechless.
An Te Qi sighed before continuing, “Since that was the case, it was better for me to do it. I even talked those theorists into making a few alterations to the microchip.”
“Alterations?” Ri Xiang Yan hurriedly asked when he realized the situation might be salvageable.
“Yes… How the microchip operates is very complicated. I’ll put it simply. Each part of the human brain has its own role. There’s a section that controls the emotions, while there’s also a section that controls the limbs. Control can also be separated on the microchip. I suggested to those guys, wouldn’t it be better to emulate that and have the emotion suppressing part be separate? Perhaps Young Master Ri would prefer to have a bodyguard with emotions.”
Hearing these words, Ri Xiang Yan’s face slowly began to brighten with hope. An Te Qi smiled and continued, “And they agreed. But they insisted that it only could be controlled by the highest priority master. So, ‘highest priority master,’ give your brother the command! Tell him to turn off the function that is suppressing his emotions. Also, he hasn’t forgotten you. It’s just that his emotions are suppressed, so he couldn’t recognize you. Tell him to retrieve all the memories related to you. He’ll be able to remember you.”
Ri Xiang Yan nearly gave the order immediately. After he gave the command, Dark Sun replied, “Understood,” and stood motionlessly for a while.
Ri Xiang Yan was so nervous that he didn’t even dare to blink… Suddenly, Dark Sun’s body went rigid and toppled over, giving Ri Xiang Yan a huge fright. He quickly grabbed his brother, but he hadn’t thought that he wouldn’t be able to lift him even after using all of his strength. He could only slowly lower his little brother to the floor.
An Te Qi coolly explained, “Dark Sun isn’t like a human in some ways. After all, his bones have been replaced with a supermetal alloy. The cells in his muscles are also far denser than that of the average human. Although he appears skinny, he actually weighs a hefty 93 kilograms!”
Ri Xiang Yan didn’t care about that at all. Seeing that his little brother’s eyes were tightly shut, he glared at An Te Qi with fury. An Te Qi indifferently shrugged. “Probably the change was too much and he needed a reboot?”
“Fine!” Ri Xiang Yan slowly stood up. His tone was as cold as ice. “Then you’re of no further use!”
An Te Qi raised his eyebrows. He wasn’t surprised that Ri Xiang Yan would want to turn on him after getting the information out of him. He only said, fearlessly, “I need to remind you that turning off the emotion suppressing function hasn’t been tested before. If anything happens, with me dead, your little brother will have no hope left.”
Ri Xiang Yan hesitated at that. He wasn’t sure whether An Te Qi was just saying this to save his own life. However, he truly didn’t want to keep anyone alive who knew his little brother’s secret, and who could even give commands to his little brother.
“Also, because your little brother places your safety as the highest priority, even if you command him to stop protecting you, it’d be useless. If he injures himself while trying to protect you, his flesh and bones are far different from most people’s, so he wouldn’t be able to seek out a regular doctor.”
After saying that, as if afraid that wouldn’t be enough to persuade Ri Xiang Yan and that he was about to be shot dead, An Te Qi immediately gave an example. “Even the sharpest surgical knives can just barely cut your little brother’s flesh. His heart rate, body temperature, and so on are all different from those of a normal person’s. Finding a regular doctor would be pointless and would expose your brother’s abnormality! Therefore, for the sake for your brother, I think you should leave me alive?”
Ri Xiang Yan’s face was ashen, but he slowly lowered the gun. He menacingly warned An Te Qi, “I won’t kill you, but you should know: If my little brother’s secret is leaked, your life is also forfeit! Don’t think of escaping. With the power of the Sun Alliance, even if you can hide at the bottom of the sea or in the middle of the desert, I will still find you.”
Faced with Ri Xiang Yan, who had maneuvered the battlefield of the corporate world since he was ten, even the usually easygoing An Te Qi couldn’t help having a serious expression as he said, “I understand. I won’t say a word.”
Only then did Ri Xiang Yan put away the gun. He walked back to his little brother’s side, and with an incredible effort, hoisted up his heavy body. An Te Qi wanted to help, but was rejected with a look from Ri Xiang Yan.
Ri Xiang Yan walked with great difficulty. Even with the weight pressing down on his back and an endless flight of stairs before him, he would not let go no matter what.
This time, I’ll definitely protect you.
1 “Ri Xiang Yan”: (日向炎, Rì Xiàng Yán) His family name 日 (Rì) means “sun” while his given name 向炎 (Xiàng Yán) means “toward/facing flame.” If you are familiar with Oddsquad’s names, he is Devon Solaris there. We have chosen to keep names that are formed in the oriental way of surname first, then first name, in pinyin, just like our naming conventions in our translation of No Hero. The same names and terminology will be used across both series.
7 “Ri Xiang Ye”: (日向夜 , Rì Xiàng Yè) His family name 日 (Rì) means “sun” while his given name 向夜 (Xiàng Yè) means “toward/facing the night.” If you are familiar with Oddsquad’s names, he is Daren Solaris there.